What is Sign Language? <<Home
Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. Sign Language is used mainly by Deaf people and people with hearing difficulties.
British Sign Language
Within Britain the most common form of Sign Language is called British Sign Language (BSL). BSL has it's own grammatical structure and syntax, as a language it is not dependant nor is it strongly related to spoken English. BSL is the preferred language of between 50,000 - 70,000 people within the UK.
Sign Supported English
Another form of sign language used in Britain is known as Sign Supported English (SSE). SSE is not a language in itself. SSE uses the same signs as BSL but they are used in the same order as spoken English. SSE is a less efficient form of communication than BSL but is useful when used within schools where Deaf children are having to learn English grammar along side their signing, or by people who mix mainly with hearing people.
Is Sign Language Universal?
Many hearing people have the false impression that Sign Language is a worldwide universal language, but this however is far from the truth. Because of the isolated nature of Sign Language there is even significant variation from city to city within Britain, this is known as regional variation and can be thought of as being similar to regional accents found in spoken languages. Other countries have their own sign language, many of which are completely unrelated to BSL.
BSL - A Recognised Language
After a big campaign BSL was finally recognised by the UK government as an official minority language in 2003. This has lead to increased funding for the needs of Deaf people's communication, and an increased awareness of the language which now has a similar status to that of Gaelic and Welsh.
I just wonder if you can take to look what BSL look like! :)
Fi amani Allah